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The Pros and Cons Of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

                Written by
               Jack - Guest author

Contact tracing apps seem to be the new fad.
Their popularity is also one that comes on the back of a series of unfortunate events. They seem to hold another approach to fighting the menace of a disease that has claimed no less than 400,000 lives worldwide.
The widespread race to get these apps working can also be attributed to the coming together of two big names in tech, Apple and Google, to make the frameworks for such apps happen.
Like every other thing, though, how does the scales tip in favor of, or against, these apps?

The Case for Contact Tracing Apps
In April alone, the US people lost more jobs than the economy had been able to gain in about a combined decade. More unemployment claims are filed daily, while companies do not take their staff out of furlough anytime soon.
Businesses are folding up daily, too, especially those still paying running costs (rent, electricity, etc.) even though they are not opening and selling anything. On the back of that, we are having scary confirmations of new cases and deaths.
Thus, if the contact tracing apps means that the spread is slowed down, it is an idea welcomed by many.

While that means lesser people will be infected and become asymptotic carriers, it also reduces the strain on the healthcare system at the same time.
Likewise, this is not the first time that contract tracing has been used in medicine. After all, this is not the first pandemic that the world will face. While there are arguments to support that manual contact tracing has been developed to a very high level, leveraging technology means we are using everything at our disposal to fight this disease.

Where the People Stand Against It
Even though Apple and Google have promised that they will make it possible for the data not to be exploited, we don’t think many people believe that one bit. These thoughts are echoed by a survey on contact tracing, which shows that 75% of American adults believe the government will find a way to abuse their privacy with these apps.
The collection of data is something that unsettles the majority of citizens too. It is possible that governments change the contact tracing program into something else, allowing them to keep the data legally. 

That, and we have not mentioned the stigmatization that could come with false positives.
While COVID-19 is not a death sentence, the media hype around it makes it look like so. Should someone be wrongly identified and taken away, their release back into society might not be as smooth.

The Way Forward
Here, there is no universal way forward. It comes down to the needs and acceptance of necessary evils to know how best to tackle this challenge.
Already, states like New York and California have shown that they would rather trust the way of manual contact tracing than willingly sell their data to the government. In other regions of the world, though, that might not be an option.
Putting the distrust in numbers, some 84% of survey respondents believe that the government is likely to overstep its bounds with the data which these apps and systems will generate. Since we have already come to accept that good technology will come with some downsides too, is this one that we are willing to look the other way for? 

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and privacy tools. 


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